Earlier today, a new defender was spotted at the New England Patriots' first practice of the week wearing jersey number 96. The mystery player now has a name and role on the team as first reported by ESPN's Field Yates – alongside some other news regarding a promotion to the Patriots' active 53-man roster:
Source: the Patriots have promoted LB Trevor Reilly to the 53-man roster and signed former 49ers NT Mike Purcell to the practice squad.
Trevor Reilly is a familiar face in New England: He had already spent time with the organization last season, when he was a part of the Patriots' practice squad from mid-October to mid-December. While he did not appear in a game for the team before being signed to the Miami Dolphins' active roster, Reilly was voted as one of the Patriots' practice players of the week a total of three times.
The 29-year old originally entered the NFL as a seventh round draft pick by the New York Jets in 2014. For the Patriots' upcoming opponent, Reilly appeared in a total of 29 games as a backup linebacker and special teamer. The Utah product also played three games for the Dolphins last season. This year, he started on Miami's practice squad but was released early October and signed to the Patriots' practice squad two days later.
Mike Purcell came to the NFL via undrafted free agency in 2013. The Utah product was signed by the San Francisco 49ers with whom he spent the next four season while appearing in a total of 25 games. Earlier this year, the 26-year old was released and now found his way to New England's practice squad via the Los Angeles Rams, Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers. Purcell fills Reilly's old spot on the practice squad.
In order to make room for Reilly on their 53-man roster, the Patriots will have to make a corresponding move. The most likely of which involves another linebacker: Harvey Langi, who is expected to miss the remainder of the season as he recovers from a car crash in early October. Langi will likely be placed on the non-football injury list to clear a spot for Reilly.
EDIT: The Patriots have officially placed Langi on the non-football injury list.